How Fast Can a Shire Horse Run? And What Determines the Speed

Trotting Shire Horse

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If you plan to get a shire horse, you will probably wonder how fast it can run. Although they are not mostly used for speed and neither are they the fastest, they can run at a speed of 30-35 minutes per hour or 56 kilometers per hour.

Shire horses are mainly used for pulling, transportation, and assisting in farming work. Shire horses have tall legs; hence, bringing them forward quickly while running might be strenuous, making them slow runners.

Below, we will look at how fast a shire horse can run and the factors affecting their speed.

How Fast Can a Shire Horse Run?

White Horse on Green Grass

Running is a defense mechanism for horses. A shire horse has a running speed of 30-35 minutes per hour or 56 kilometers per hour. A Shire horse is a draft horse that is mainly bred for weight-pulling, cart-pulling, and farm work due to their incredible strength. 

Factors That Determine a Shire Horse’s Speed

1. Genetics

Genetics is one factor that determines the speed of a shire horse. Different horse breeds differ in genetic possibilities for running.  A shire horse is a draft breed mainly bred for its power and strength but not for running. 

Their inherited genes are mainly for pulling and transportation, among others; hence they are mainly known for that.

2. Age, Health, and Well-being

Younger horses are likely to outrun older horses hence age can determine the speed of a shire horse. Health can also affect the speed of a shire horse. Respiratory conditions like the inability to take in oxygen well, and physical conditions like lameness.

The mental well-being of a horse also plays a role in its speed. An anxious or stressed horse might not be able to may not be able to focus and maintain its speed compared to a relaxed horse. 

3. Stride

Stride is the distance between where the horse’s hoof touches the ground and the next spot where the same foot touches the ground, regardless of its space. So, the stride length of the shire horse.

4. Stride Rate

The stride rate is the number of strides a racehorse completes in a given time. So, the more the strides, the higher the speed, and vice versa.

5. Jockey

Person Riding A Horse

The jockey’s posture can strain the horse’s back, which can affect the overall speed. Their posture can either reduce or increase the horse’s speed. The weight of the jockey can also affect the speed. If the jockey is heavy, the speed of the horse will reduce.

6. Stride Angle

The stride angle is the gap between a horse’s front and back foot. So, knowing how far a horse can flatten while running is essential. Horses with higher strides angels have longer strides and can run faster.

7. Anatomy

Horses with sturdy skeletons and high functional muscles tend to run faster. Additionally, they also have fast-twitch muscle fibers and slow twitch. However, the composition of muscle fibers differs in different breeds, making them good at particular activities.

8. Track Surface

A poorly maintained track can affect stride optimization. For instance, a horse running on a wet surface can sink a bit, so it needs more time and energy to complete every stride. Hence this affects the horse’s speed.

9. Diet

A brown horse with black legs licks grass in a field

Diet and nutrition are essential factors in the speed of the shire horse. Horses need speed energy and this only comes from the diet they feed on, so if your horse is not getting enough nutrients, it might not be able to maintain its speed.

So include healthy calories and proteins inform of grains in your horse’s diet. Furthermore, ensure your horse is hydrated and accessible to clean and fresh water. Dehydration leads to fatigue, so your horse cannot maintain its speed.

10. Terrain

Terrain can also affect the speed of your horse. Horses are more likely to move faster in flat areas than in hilly areas filled with obstacles. 

How to Increase the Speed of Your Shire Horse

1. Regular Training

Regular training will help your horse reach its potential speed. However, do not push your horse into training daily, as this might cause injuries. Identify the ideal type of training for your horse, and consistent training will increase your horse’s speed.

2. Quality Food

Remember, quality food will give your horse the energy it needs to increase its speed. So, feed your horse with healthy carbs, fats, and proteins. You can also add supplements to your horse’s diet. 

Wrap Up

Although shire horses are not bred for racing, their speed is important as running is their defense mechanism according to nature. You can help your shire horse increase its speed with proper and regular training and a healthy diet to help supply the energy needed.

Matthew Flor

Matthew Flor

Hi, y’all! My name is Matthew Flor, and I’m from Ocala, Florida.
I’m a horse enthusiast, and one of my favorite breeds is the Shire horse.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing information about these amazing animals – everything from their history to their unique characteristics.

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